I have had to become pretty good at keeping secrets of late. It was about this time last year I received an email that changed just about everything. It simply said ‘CALL ME ASAP’ from my agent. Now she’s not the type to over excite me for no reason; she knows that rarely ends well. So I did call her and the news was that I had a book deal. Not just for baking recipes either; for a family cookbook. To say I was emotional and over excited is an understatement. There was one catch – I couldn’t tell anyone.

So here we are a year later and I am finally able to tell you about it. What a relief. I am pretty good at keeping secrets about other people, but dreadful when it comes to yours truly. So now I can tell you all about it. If you’re interested read on… (oh and here’s the cover):

cover jacket RFNM

The book, imaginatively named Recipes from a Normal Mum, will be published on 17th July 2014 by Quadrille, with 100 recipes all with an accompanying photograph. This is especially important as I do dislike recipe books without pictures – I like to know what the dish should look like. The photos were taken by none other than David Loftus, affectionately called Lord Loftus by his best pal Jamie Oliver (yes! Jamie!). David has taken almost all the photos for Jamie’s recipe books so it was all a bit nerve racking to say the least.

The idea behind the book is very similar to the ethos of the blog – lots of recipes that don’t cost the earth, take too long or involve having to hunt for specialist ingredients. Food from a ‘normal’ mum.

The book is split into 8 chapters:

1) The more the merrier – this chapter is all about feeding a crowd, but not in the dinner party sense. This is about communal eating with family and friends, of any age, ideas for both savoury and sweet. Recipes include Greek inspired meatballs, Tapenade black breast roast chicken, Caponata tart, Banoffee hazelnut cookie crumble and Chocolate chip lime meringue pie.

2) Feeding Goldilocks and baby bear too – a chapter for when the kids are eating separately, which on week nights happens a lot in our house (husband works pretty late). This is all about feeding the kids with the minimum of fuss, resulting in clean plates. Recipes include Mini sticky sausage kebabs, Baked treasure parcels, Whizz bang chocolate banana steamed pudding and Spotty dog pancakes.

3) Dinner for two in a flash – chapter 2 kind of explains this one. I often eat later on week nights with my husband so need recipes that are quick, easy and filling. Almost everything makes enough for 2 and can be scaled up or down. Recipes include Garlic mushroom crackle pie, Creamily quick crab linguine, Virtuous soy and ginger salmon and ‘Bring out your leftovers’ baked chicken enchiladas. Here’s a shot of the lemony salmon pasta with peas from this chapter:

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4) Food for the Great British outdoors – I know our weather here in the UK is dreadful but doesn’t everything taste better eaten outside? This is picnic food, barbecue fodder and stuff that just tastes better outside. Recipes include Soothing rosemary and walnut pockets filled with cheese, Backyard chargrilled carrot salad, Tortilla traybake, Pimms and lemonade cheesecake and Summer’s eve elderflower and gooseberry frangipane tart. Here’s the tortilla traybake:

TORTILLA.TRAY07

5) Switching to baking mode – well, come on, I couldn’t write a recipe book without a whole chapter dedicated to baking could I? (And rest assured there are lots of baking recipes littered throughout the other chapters too.) Recipes include Peasant’s pretzel brownies, St. Clements breakfast swirls, Toe-warming whisky sour treacle tart, Falafel ‘sausage’ rolls, Seeded granary rolls and My best high hat scones.

6) Recipes for chefs in the making – anyone who follows this blog or knows me in any way are aware of how much I love getting my sons into the kitchen. Not just for cupcake and biscuit making (though we all love doing this) but for everyday savoury food meant to nourish. This chapter holds hands with chapter 2. Recipes include Banish the breadsticks grissini, Mix it up breakfast muffins, Blue Peter badge winning tiffin, Sandwich bake and Mexicana bubblegum bread. Here are the breakfast muffins:

Mix it up breakfast muffins

7) Children’s party food, because you’re only old once – a chapter of recipes meant for children’s parties, but frankly I’d serve them any day of the week to kids and adults alike. Recipes include Rocky road Florentines, Cheese and onion straws, Over the rainbow meringues, Squidgy spiders web cakes and Sticky little fingers chocolate bar cake. There’s a strong baking bias in this chapter too.

8) Presents from the heart – I do love giving (and receiving) an edible gift so I’ve dedicated a whole chapter to bits and bobs you can easily make and bestow to those you love. Recipes include Lemon button biscuits, Chocolate, rum and raisin fudge, Bell blend garam masala, Raspberry vinegar marinated olives and Lady Grey’s Gin. Here are the lemon button biscuits in all their glory:

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Many recipes also feature ideas of what to do with one off ingredients so you’re not left with a spare egg yolk. Because that can be very annoying.

If you think you’d like to pre-order it then here’s the link. I really hope you like it.

Thanks for reading and being so incredibly supportive. I can’t tell you how nervous I am about all of this.

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